For a fun way to warm up the group and begin to get to know others, try starting group meetings with 1 or 2 icebreaker games. There are many great icebreaker game ideas online: click here for a great example, or just google search “icebreaker games for small groups” for other ideas.
Contact Info Sheet:
One simple way to help your group move from being strangers to acquaintances is to have everyone exchange contact information right from the beginning. You can use this form, or just pass around a pen and a pad of paper. Have one person collect the info and then email it out to the group, or have everyone in the group write a copy of their own.
Get to Know You Questions:
A great way for people in your group to get to know each other well and to form strong relational bonds is simply to ask good open-ended questions. Consider opening each group meeting time with one good get-to-know-you question that everyone in the group gets to answer. For some great question ideas, check out GetToKnowU.com.
A key milestone in the Create Loving Community stage is for group members to grow more comfortable sharing their needs with the group and asking for prayer and practical support. As these needs come up in your group, a care calendar is a great tool to help your group organize support. CareCalendar.org is a web based system to organize meals and other help for families during a time of illness or life changing event, such as the birth of a baby or death of a family member.
Running Partner Guidelines:
Another key milestone of the Create Transparent Community stage is for Running Partner relationships to begin forming in the group. See these Running Partner Guidelines for more information on Running Partners and for a list of guidelines and questions for Running Partners to use during their meeting time together.